When the weather outside is frightful…

January 17, 2013 • Author: Ruff Haus


Since we're right smack in he middle of winter, we thought we'd put together a top 10 list of things you can do to help keep your pooch happy when the weather outside is less than favorable. Check out some of our fave things to do when its snowy, blowing, or just down right too cold outside!

1.Hide N’ Seek

This game is a great way to practice your recall and is so much fun to play, especially with young dogs that haven’t caught on to your best hiding places yet! Basically how it works is, you will get your dog to wait or have someone hold them while you go and hide. When you’re ready, call your dog and wait for them to come and find you. Make sure to reward them with something extra yummy to keep them enticed and to reward them for coming when called (cheese or small pieces of hot dog work really well in our house). Trust us, this one’s hilarious, and you’ll find yourself trying not to laugh watching your dog try and find you!

2.Stairs and Hallways

Sometimes dogs just need to run and climb and work their bodies in order to burn energy. Why not play fetch up and down a flight of stairs to help burn excess energy? Making them run up and down stairs is just like running up and down hills at the park, and can help burn energy quickly. This one can be tricky if you have hardwood, so be cautious of what type of surface you’re playing on so that your dog can get traction. A good alternative to stairs is a hallway or other flat surface-that’s the good thing about playing fetch, you can do it anywhere!)

3.Thinking Toys

If you can’t get Fido out to exercise him physically, why not exercise his brain instead? You’d be surprised at how stimulating your dog mentally can be exhausting for them. Look for toys that encourage your dog to work by figuring out how to find a treat by moving doors and flaps.You can pick these up at most local pet stores, Bark N Mews carry some of our faves! Feeling creative? Why not come up with thinking games of your own? Try hiding treats in a muffin tray and covering them with tennis balls, or hiding your dogs favourite toy under a cardboard box…see how long it takes your pup to figure out how to get that reward!

4.Bake Homemade Treats

We know, having a Martha Stewart moment in your kitchen doesn’t really sound that exciting for your dog, BUT once the treats are made you can practice all of those new tricks you’ve been working on! Don’t have any new tricks to work on? Why not pick up a trick book, or find one online you can work on over the winter? Hint: Emery learned to skateboard over a period of 3-4 months, and started by targeting a phone book with his front feet! The best tricks are the ones that nobody else can do, so get creative and come up with something that only your dog knows!

5.Play Tug

Forget the myths about playing tug and how it will make your dog aggressive-those myths are just that-MYTH. Playing tug is actually a great way for you to bond with your dog since they can’t play without you! Not only that, it’s a chance for you to practice your drop it command. Its also a fantastic way for them to release pent up energy because tugging forces them to use almost every muscle in their furry little bodies! So pick up a good strong rope toy, hang on tight-the goal here is for you to win!

6.Find It

This is a favourite game in our household, and we’ve been playing it with Emery since he was a pup. It’s just as fun as Hide N Seek, and its amazing to watch their senses kick into overdrive as they search for their reward! Just like Hide N Seek, get your dog to wait or have someone hold them while you hide their favourite toy (we use a squeaky toy to get Em really amped up). Once its hidden release your dog and tell them to go find it! Hint: we hide Em’s toy in shoes, boxes, under rugs, behind furniture, and he very rarely gives up until he finds it!

7.Kong Toys

Ah, the good old faithful Kong. Another good way to keep your pooch busy. These toys have been around forever, and the quality of the product just keeps improving with time. You can pick these toys up in just about any size and strength now, and they are carried just about anywhere they carry pet supplies. A great way to make the fun last longer with these toys is to fill them and freeze them overnight. You don’t always have to use treats either; don’t be afraid to get creative! We use mashed bananas, natural yogurt, peanut butter, cheese whiz, pumpkin, honey and anything else we can think of. Just make sure that if you are adding any type of new food to your dog’s diet that you do so in moderation to avoid an upset tummy.

8.Laser Tag

This ones easy and you can even do it from your couch if you’re feeling lazy and your pups rarin' to go! Laser toys are cheap to pick up and if you don’t have one you can try a flashlight. Sit back, point and watch as your dog goes crazy. Be warned though that if you are playing this game inside, most dogs WILL run into things so don’t aim it at that brand new flat screen you picked up for boxing day!

9.Bundle up

If you enjoy the snow, and its not too chilly for your pups paws, why not hang outside in your yard or at the park? Bounding through snow banks is a sure fire way to tire your pooch out and fetching snowballs is always a fun game for them! Make sure you both bundle up to keep warm, and dont be afraid to show off that super cute dog jacket you picked up for your pup, its super cute-flaunt it!

10. Ruff Haus!

Don’t forget that we’re open all year round and no matter what the weathers like outside, we always have something going on to keep your pooch busy and happy! Why not try out a new training class over the winter, or daycare to burn some excess energy? We even have in home dog walking services available so you don’t have to go outside in the cold! Whatever your needs are, we can help!




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